The Brill Dictionary of Religion

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Kocku von Stuckrad

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The impressively comprehensive Brill Dictionary of Religion (BDR) Online addresses religion as an element of daily life and public discourse, is richly illustrated and with more than 500 entries, the Brill Dictionary of Religion Online is a multi-media reference source on the many and various forms of religious commitment. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online addresses the different theologies and doctrinal declarations of the official institutionalized religions and gives equal weight and consideration to a multiplicity of other religious phenomena. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online helps map out and define the networks and connections created by various religions in contemporary societies, and provides models for understanding these complex phenomena.

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(1,220 words)

Author(s): Salzwedel, Harmut
1. Even in the colloquial sense, values and their imagined or actual change are exposed to a nearly inflationary usage. At the same time, varying understandings of values are cultivated by several scientific disciplines, especially philosophy, religious studies, economics, pedagogy, psychology, and sociology. Common to their efforts is an attempt to grasp human acts less as arbitrary, than as possessed of a tendency to calculability. Viewed from the standpoint of the social sciences, values are …


(1,528 words)

Author(s): Baumgartner, Judith
1. The term ‘vegetarianism,’ defined by the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1842 as meatless nutrition, is derived from vegetus (Lat., ‘alive’). This means that vegetarian food excludes the products of a slaughtered animal (including fish). Within the groups of persons who live according to vegetarian principles, there are three forms of diet:1 • Ovo-lacto-vegetarians constitute the largest group. These do consume milk, milk-products, and eggs, besides vegetable products. • Lactovegetarians avoid eggs, in addition to meat and fish. • The most rigorous section am…


(1,699 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
1. In many societies, the covering of the head and → hair, from the simple headscarf to a complete cloak, has a long tradition. A person's head is literally of outstanding significance. It is not only the bearer of the brain, and thus the seat of thought and reason, but it is also the locus of all sensory organs. On it, as the highest area of the body, decoration and covering stand out most meaningfully. The veiling of the body, or parts of the body, has always served two principal purposes. First, it is meant to protect the wearer from evil influences, be it from the …

Veneration of Persons/Personality Cult

(1,746 words)

Author(s): Bumbacher, Stephan Peter
1. ‘Veneration of persons,’ or ‘personality cult,’ indicates reverence for a special personality. This reverence can go so far, in certain cultures, that the venerated persons are actually ascribed divinity. As a result, the designation, which has not yet established itself in religious studies, is often applied polemically, as a ‘counter-concept’ to reverence for God. Originally, ‘veneration of persons’ was a ‘buzz phrase,’ with a negative connotation. It was coined by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956…

Veneration of Saints

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Saints and Divine Persons 1. Non-Christian and Christian saints are considered divine persons, in the sense of enjoying a special religious bestowal of grace, although, in their lifetime, in society, they have frequently occupied the position of an outsider. On the basis of the exemplary life ascribed to them, they become phenomena of the daily piety or devotion of believers and groups. → Charisma and the attribution of miracles can raise persons to the status of saints in their own lifetime, since …